Monday, January 17, 2011

The Pilipino's (still) need for a Modern National Industry

The Pilipino's (still) need for a Modern National Industry

by Lualhati Madlangawa Guererro

Yesterday, I read a post in an "Armed Forces Site" regarding a scrapped aviation project made in the Philippines centuries ago, and one of the comments seemed to be sarcastic, especially about the fate of that project and even the possibility of creating a greater National Heavy industry in the Philippines.

Here it said:

"Let's thank Cory Aquino for ending this project. We now have one less patently corrupt and completely unnecessary project imposed by the late dictator upon the poor suffering masses. Imagine, a Philippine Aerospace industry?!?! Talk about far-out dreams! What the country really needs to focus on is developing industries like basket-weaving and rattan furniture. Long live EDSA, Long live People Power!!"

Well... ya right, the Aquino administration, adhere to free trade and anything according to the wishes of the United States, scrapped every proposals for industrialization and making the country difficult to increase its productivity since there's no comprehensive heavy industry being conducted. Yes, followed by conditions that worsen the entire society, being semi-feudal and semi-colonial, tied to the soil and in case of "industries" like assembly-line and consumer-centric, is the Philippines really industrialized even without a creation of a heavy industry that would support agricultural and other co-industrial needs?

How wonder that comment, made by an avid supporter of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, also speak that is contrary to what his idols wanted upon for the country; they may have an arsenal that may created ammunition, modified guns and recycled old, dilapidated US made equipment, but still not enough to call it an "industry"-alongside being used to defend a rotten social order in a guise of defending Peace, Liberty and Democracy. I agree on what that person said although I am against his stance supporting the mercenary.

And speaking of that rotten social order these thugs-in-camouflage defending, it is the same social order who kept on opposing dreams of industrializing the entire nation while telling the world that the Philippines is "newly industrialized." How come? First, they opposed Recto's plans for a National Heavy Industry, condemning it as "Communist"; second they called for industrialization, yet limiting it to mere consumer-related ones like production of cosmetics and maintaining the sugar centrals; then lastly, dealing with Multi-National Companies and Trans-National Companies in setting up their establishments-including the creation of automobiles and the like, all in assembly line, and be brag to the world that the Philippines is industrialized!

But still, it is not enough to call it industrialized as long as the conditions in the Philippines are still like those of the past-especially in the countryside where landlordism is rampant. The Pilipino may have Myphone as its cellphone, driving in Sakbayan and eating in Mang Inasal; but Myphone may difficult to be popularise like Nokia and Blackberry (aside from being owned by a comprador and having a foreign partner instead of being genuinely produced in the Philippines), Sakbayan is owned by Volkswagen using the Guevarra family as its domestic operators, and Mang Inasal? Being end up 'owned' by Jollibee as one of its franchises. So aside from having no heavy industry and rampant landlordism, again will you still tell that the Philippines is gearing towards progress without any native made steel from the mountains of Sierra Madre or in Mindanao? You are just living in the environs of Metropolitan Manila or any urban areas I guess, without looking outside, in the countryside, and telling what conditions in the Philippines in general do we have-all despite carrying things that is considered "patriotic".

And noticing the predominance of MNCs and TNCs, fueled by support by the Landlords and Compradores, as expected by most Pilipinos, really pushed the nation down and trying never to rise up and resist; obviously-from the destruction of strikes coming from Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, Nestle in Mindanao, to the Kuliglig drivers in Manila, it really shows how they kept on destroying the means for livelihood speaking of the employees of Nestle, Land for the landless peasants in Tarlac, or even the possibility of creating an industry, and employment coming from the Pilipinos themselves speaking of the Kuliglig tractor, both its drivers and creators.

Speaking of the Kuliglig, that vehicle had the possibility to be improved as well just like the motorcycle and other related vehicles in the metro. Being sturdier and good for carrying people and or vegetables, that vehicle can be developed further and redesigned, replacing the rope with the key as one of the basics so to say.

How about the people behind Industry and Agricultural Improvement?
We may have few scientists, engineers dealing with industry, and further decreasing as they end up working abroad as mere employees, staff in high-paying yet hot, sunny Arabia. or in any other country, worse? Hearing and looking at the news reports like the destruction of the creations made by mere steel craftsmen from Tondo, scions of Panday Pira so to speak?

Again, that person who posted the comments above is correct. We are rather stuck in the creation of baskets and rattan furniture, alongside getting contented in imported goods, assembly-lined Toyotas, instead of pushing the nation towards the creation of steel, modern day equipment. It doesn't come from Aquino I and her environs, but that was, and is, what the system wanted in this "Pearl of the Orient seas." Yet still contented in being a fanatic of those who defend the rotten social order who, despite doing its modernization work, still failed and getting contented instead on surplus US made materiel.

I myself still advocating for National Industrialization alongside Genuine Agrarian Reform and a progressive fiscal and social policy for the people. Looking from realities happened, as well as basing from the books like those of Rizal, Bonifacio, Recto, even Amado Guererro's, the need for a National Industry, specifically on heavy industry, helps in accelerating National improvement and construction of the modern state, that is, never been much set upon due to being blocked by those who insist on free trade and contentment in foreign goods and the like. Remembering the Korean models, it accelerated from a mere agricultural country to an industrialized state-thanks to the reconstruction and modernization efforts with focus on heavy industry and other related services they can offer with; we even remember that in a country full of natural resources and manpower, lies the tendency to feed its own instead of trading it-like utilizing metal ores, plants and the like for generating new materials being produced domestically like what Korea did-the Vinalon for example, that cloth is made from mineral and other chemicals that can make into material for clothing and other daily needs like wool and cotton. How about here? Why not utilize Jute fiber, Cotton, Silk, Nylon, Rayon, and even our native ones like Pina and Sinamay?

For sure people would reacted whether positive or negative about this writeup. We've witnessed a lot of challenges like the EDSA revolt what the writer from above being said upon to us, forcing the nation in a state of contentment alongside mere political changes, faces while in regards to economics, left nothing with mere "reforms" and "limitations" especially regarding attempts to industrialize. Yes, they forced the Pilipinos to remain contented in imported goods, in mere industries like cottage and if with machines, mere consumer-centric ones instead of creating major goods that can utilize our resources fully. Look are we now shall we? Are we really improved despite of the numbers rising? Of the number of imported cellphones, cars, living in modern-day boxes and others?

Raha Soliman

I have nothing to say further in this post, but despite the trials, the crisis, there will still be hope for the Pilipino ...if the rotten system is to be dismantled and a new one, gearing towards the future, modernity, and of realities be build upon it.